A Break in the Weather


That’s Mt. Tamalpais enshrouded in clouds at the center of the picture. It is 2,571 feet (784 metres) high, just north of San Francisco Bay and a familiar sight to anyone traveling into Marin County from the metropolis to the south. We have a fine view of it from the back of our house, whence this photo was taken a few days ago at evening. I’m told I climbed Mt. Tamalpais at age four with my older sister and very enthusiastic and outdoor-oriented parents, but have only a vague recollection of the event. We were always doing things like that, in any case. I had seen a lot of the Sierra Nevada range, including its foothill areas, and in rather energetic fashion, by the time I had reached adolescence. Though in their mid-eighties now, in their youth my parents were very much proponents–on weekends and during vacations, anyway–of a kind of Rooseveltian ‘strenuous life’. It was great fun, but at this great temporal remove I get tired just thinking of it. 

You can see a couple of patches of the outer part of San Francisco Bay toward the center of the picture. The Golden Gate Bridge lies hidden behind the slopes to your right, which include Twin Peaks, though they don’t appear in the photo. The Forest Hill neighborhood is to the left, the Old Miraloma district is at the bottom of the picture, and if it had been a clear day, and I’d used a telephoto lens, you’d be able to see the green lawns and white neoclassical walls of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. The Pacific Ocean lies outside the picture, but if I’d turned the camera to the left, you’d see the sun beginning to inch its way toward its devouring waters. The branch along the top is of a huge cypress tree which belongs to our neighbor. It’s gloriously beautiful, and I’m convinced it’s the abode of some beneficent spirit which watches over us and protects us in all kinds of ways. But it also collects the billowing clouds of fog which inundate us throughout the year, then hurls them down–in liquid form–with the gale force winds which roll in off the Pacific and drench both house and deck with what amounts to more or less continuous monsoons. The photo was taken during a pleasant break in a spate of bad weather.

Our late fall and winter rains have begun, in fact. I never look forward to them. I always worry about leaky roofs and wet dogs, clogged rain gutters and downspouts. This morning the sun has broken through, however, and the whole place is resuming its Camelot aspect. In between clouds, anyway. Dogs may even get a walk. 


2 comments on “A Break in the Weather

  1. Absolutely fantastic – I just spent another month in ‘Frisco, returning a week ago and been there through March and through July but never “winter” = so the rain appeals to me, especially living in Lost Angeles! Your words alone, however, gave me the sense of what it feels like. Nice job.

  2. leifhendrik says:

    Thanks! Sounds like you know the city pretty well already. I’ve often thought that, if I could, I’d only live here full time March through May, then again September through mid-November, coming back briefly every couple of weeks just to check on the house and in case the sun happened to be shining–I’d check my iPad weather app frequently! Otherwise I’d seek sunshine elsewhere. What I really love about San Francisco has nothing to do with weather, however: it’s the distinct neighborhoods and the memories, the former for the variety, the latter because they anchor me firmly to a joyful past. Though I grumble about the dampness and cold, I think it would be very hard for me to be away from the place for long.

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